Business

Thursday 5 December 2019

EasyJet silent on Bellew's planned COO role

Contract: Peter Bellew hopes to join Easyjet in January 2020
Contract: Peter Bellew hopes to join Easyjet in January 2020
John Mulligan

John Mulligan

EASYJET has declined to say if it expects Peter Bellew to join the carrier in January as its chief operating officer, as the executive battles his employer, Ryanair in court.

Ryanair commenced legal action against Mr Bellew in August in an effort to enforce a 12-month non-compete clause in his contract. Mr Bellew is currently the chief operating officer at Ryanair.

The case is set to start next week and run for four days. It had been due to start last week, but no judge was available at the time.

Mr Bellew announced during the summer that he would leave Ryanair at the end of December, just two years after rejoining the carrier. Soon after making that announcement, EasyJet said that Mr Bellew would be joining it as its chief operating officer.

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"I think everybody who signs a contract in Ryanair should comply and honour the terms of those contracts," said CEO Michael O'Leary after Ryanair's annual general meeting in September.

"Particularly, the senior management are very well paid in Ryanair," he added. "They're all committed to 12-month non-compete clauses thereafter. It doesn't stop them working in the industry, but I think it would be a very difficult issue for us to have them move to our principle competitor here in Europe."

Mr O'Leary said at the time: "The only thing at issue is whether he [Mr Bellew] can join EasyJet on January 1, 2020, or January 1, 2021. It's key at the moment because of the issue we have over the Max aircraft."

Asked by the Irish Independent if the airline expected Mr Bellew to take up his new role in January as expected, or if EasyJet has made any contingency plans in the event he is unable to do so, the carrier declined to comment.

"The court case is a matter for Ryanair and as such we won't be commenting," said a spokeswoman for EasyJet.

Irish Independent

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